concert review: The Raveonettes, Black Acid @ The Opera House (Toronto, Ontario), March 21, 2008
It was Good Friday, this past Friday, that brought the double bill of The Raveonettes and Black Acid to The Opera House. Given Toronto promoter Dan Burke's Good Friday Jesus and Mary Chain Tribute Night from a few year's back(the one which spawned Toronto's The Diableros), it almost makes sense that JAMC aficiandos The Raveonettes would play a show in Toronto on Good Friday.
Opening the show were New York band Black Acid. They are a band whose name is descriptive of their music. The five-piece outfit play a dark stew of acid rock comprised of chugging basslines and rhythms, 3-chord guitar simplicity, and expressive, mic-distorted vocals. I'd never heard their music before that night and on it's own merits I wasn't impressed. Rudimentary musicianship aside(with a slight exception to the drummer who was a tad better at his instrument than the rest of them), their songs seem like half-baked ideas, lacking any sort of hooks to make the songs really pay off. Their lacklustre stage performance(especially that of vocalist Richard Fearless) made things even worse. After a little bit of internet research(ie checking out their MySpace), I found out the band is a supergroup of sorts comprised of Richard Fearless (Death In Vegas), Matty McDermott (Nymph), Oliver Ackermann (Place To Bury Strangers) Doug Marvin (Dirty On Purpose), and Ryan Hamilton (Coyote). I'm only familiar with Death In Vegas(although I've heard of Place To Bury Strangers and Dirty on Purpose in passing) and am aware of Death In Vegas' forays into rock music(from their roots as an electronica-based group) and while I can 'appreciate' Mr. Fearless' efforts to broaden his horizons with Black Acid, I'll conclude by saying, appreciating and liking are entirely different matters. Maybe next time.
Utilizing the same lineup as their show at Lee's Palace in October 2007, The Raveonettes, ostensibly the duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, with touring drummer Leah Shapiro took the stage to an audibly receptive crowd. Not sure if it was sold out but it seemed like a packed house. This is one the few shows that I actually liked The Opera House over Lee's Palace in that visually there was something more eye-pleasing about the way The Opera House's drawn curtains framed the band on stage, in addition to a better use of light effects this time around. I think The Raveonettes were most exhilirating during their most sugar-coated pop tunes, recent songs like "Dead Sound" and "You Want The Candy" off "Lust, Lust, Lust", the 50s'ish "Here Comes Mary" off of "Pretty In Black" and pop gems like "Love Gang" or the noisy "Great Love Sound" off of "Chain Gang Of Love". Sune is a decent if not terrific guitarist and Sharin and Leah, if not somewhat more rudimentary in their musicianship, do provide a capable level and quality of sounds to bring the songs to life. I mean, I couldn't imagine Sharin not providing her lovely background vox nor Leah not beating on that snare drum in true Bobby Gillespie fashion. I wonder if'd be paying half the attention to The Raveonettes if Sharin and Leah weren't in the band but as long as they are, I might as well enjoy the eye-candy. And of course half of rock n' roll(beside the music itself), is looking good doing it. Taking a break from their pop tunes and showing a different side of their selves, the band came back for an encore to perform the outlaw countryish "Love Can Destroy Everything" and the sinister hypnotic "Aly Walk With Me". A satisfying set overall.
Check out my photos from the show over at my Flickr.
More reviews/photos over at Condemned To Rock N Roll, Lycanthrophy, chartattack and Mainstream Obscenity.
MySpace: The Raveonettes
MySpace: Black Acid